Monday, 9 February 2009

I Still Love a Sunburnt Country

I was all set to do a humorous post about my bush walking adventure on the weekend. However, the time doesn't seem quite right for laughing. Strangely, I had been walking in an area that had been destroyed by bush fires six years ago. It has since been replenished with beautiful green growth.

I came back home to hear about the horrific bush fires in the Gippsland and Yarra areas of Victoria over the weekend. One hundred and eighty one people have lost their lives (and that number is increasing by the hour), many more have been severely burnt (with reports that the burn cases are far worse than those in the Bali terrorist bombings), 750 homes have been destroyed, thousands of animals have died or been injured, hundreds of thousands of hectares have been destroyed and lives have been changed forever.

The particularly horrific aspect to it all is that some of the fires may have been deliberately lit.

My heart goes out to everyone involved. I cannot truly comprehend the horror of losing my home or, worse still, the lives of loved ones to fire. However, I can comprehend the speed that bush fires travel, the fear of being in the path of one and then living in its aftermath.

On the 18th January 2003 I woke up to a normal warm summer's day. I was alone in the house and looking forward to spending the day decorating. In the afternoon I was sitting on the study floor putting together a desk and concentrating on the instructions. I happened to look up at the window and was puzzled to see that the sky was dark as if it was evening. It was only 3.30pm. I got up and walked to the window and saw a black sky awash with an orange tint. It was unusually and eerily beautiful. The video at the end of this post shows what the sky looked like.

I rang a friend to ask if he had heard anything about the weather and I explained what the sky looked like. He said he hadn't heard anything and jokingly asked if I had been drinking.

The doorbell then rang and a neighbour asked if he could borrow a ladder. When I asked him why, he said he needed to clean leaves out of the roof gutter because he had just heard on the radio that there was a fire warning. He was quite relaxed and said there was nothing to worry about.

I turned on the radio. Over the following minutes, the radio announcers were becoming more and more panicked. A bushfire was heading our way. My suburb was surrounded by a pine forest and this was just the fuel a raging fire needed to grow more savage. We were in the path of potential destruction.

We were told to take down curtains. The windows were burning hot already. To put wet towels at exterior doorways to stop the smoke coming into the house. To fill the bathtub and buckets with water because water supplies may be affected. To pack valuables to take with us and to wait in our homes for further evacuation instructions. I worried about the elderly people who may be alone, sleeping or those without radios. What if people were unaware about what was going on?

Minutes seemed to last for hours. The only humorous thing about this episode was the possessions I chose to pack. Rather than take important papers, photo albums, clothes etc. I took two Royal Shakespeare Company framed prints (that are still the most important possession I have for many reasons) bed linen, jewellery and makeup. I clearly have never been the practical sort.

I was not prepared for a fire. The City was clearly not prepared for a fire. I opened the door to check what was happening outside and I was nearly suffocated by the intense heat. Hot red embers flew past me to the wooden floor.

Eventually we were told to leave our homes. It was quick. Some people were on roofs with hoses trying to soak their homes in the hope it would do some good. Some refused to leave because they wanted to do all they could to protect their property.

The fire took hold quickly. When you hear the expression spread like wild fire it is true. Within hours over 230 homes in my suburb were destroyed and four people died. Five hundred homes were lost in the city in total. Almost 70% of the city's pasture, forests (pine plantations) and nature parks were severely damaged.

My house survived but others in my street were burnt to the ground. Fire is such an unpredictable force. It can skip one house but raze houses either side to nothing more than rubble.

Returning to the neighbourhood several days later was like entering a twilight zone. Nothing was familiar. Or real. Gas, water and electricity were off for weeks. Suddenly neighbours were no longer there.

Communities are strong and people rally around to help each other. Humans are resourceful creatures. They rebuild even when the pain lingers.

This latest tragedy brings the memories flooding back to people in my city. And I know that we will be doing all we can to help those affected. This tragedy is by far the worst our country has ever faced. Victims of bush fires usually have no real warning and often no way of fighting such an horrific force. Many people would have been bravely battling to protect their homes and families and would have been trapped by circling flames. How could you outrun a brutish blaze that moved at 120 kmh? Some would have tried to excape in vehicles but then would have been blinded by darkness and thick smoke and ended up in the midst of flames. Whole families have been wiped out. People have lost everything but the clothes on their backs. So many stories and many graphic images will unfold over the coming days.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone involved, including the brave men and women still fighting the fires.

I made this video some time ago of the 2003 bush fires in my neighbourhood. Nature surely is a force to be reckoned with. There are some moments in life you just have to walk away and cry and this disaster is one of them.



video

 

 



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113 comments:

  1. It must be a horrific thing to be close to, I can't even imagine it. We've heard about the heat & fires there on the news, while we're under an unusual (but much less deadly) layer of snow.

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  2. Just come here after reading June's post. And today the newspapers here are reporting on the fires. Your video really shows what a catastrophe it is. And if someone has lit these on purpose, I dont see how this is not terrorism. Miles and miles of land burnt to cinders. Loss of precious life.

    But we humans are the trying type. We learn to rise from a catastrophe, no matter how bad. I can only pray for an end to this terrible fire....

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  3. The horrific fires are headline news here too, Lilly. My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones.

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  4. I was so horrified by the news reports, how could anyone do that? My thoughts & prayers are with everyone there.

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  5. Oh, Lily, what a truly terrible thing you've lived through -- and are now re-living. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your countrymen.

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  6. I can't imagine being that close to bushfires. We used to get them from time to time up north where we lived out of town, but Central Queensland bushfires are tame, ground-fuel eating things rather than the raging inferno in the tree-tops you get down there.

    Just. Cannot. Imagine.

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  7. I cannot even comprehend this. This is awful and so dam sad. That video was amazing, but in a very disheartning way. I"m so sorry for all those who have to live thru this and you to! Its so awful someone deliberate does this???? What the hell are they thinking...

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  8. I came this morning specifically looking for your post - I'm afraid my knowledge of Australia geography is relatively small, so I was not sure how these recent fires were/were not effecting you.

    So glad to see you were spared this horrific event. The victims of this disaster are in my prayers.

    Em

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  9. I too have heard about it over here. I can't imagine being that close to fire. It must have been horrific for people to be trapped and not having tme to make it to safety. The communities affected are going to need a lot of love and care. I would hate to think that the fires were deliberately lit. If so, the fire bugs are mass murderers. My thoughts are with everyone affected - I am sure your nation is greatly saddened. What a shock.

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  10. It was the early eighties for me; and we watched the mountains burn as we evacuated people from their houses...and I saw the fire starter, a crazy kid from my school...he was caught and jailed...

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  11. Hard to put into words. Just horrific.

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  12. Lilly you were my first thought when I was watching this yesterday on line. I had to double check your location. My friends in California, just went through this and I remember them trying to get their 24 horses out and all the critters. I don't know what EVIL comes over these jerks that start fires. That is one of our fears here is all the woods full of pines and fuel they just need a spark.
    My prayers go out for your country and all the ones who have lost love ones at this time I pray they get the fires under control. Could not imagine trying to escape and there is no route. Mere words can't explain.
    Your pictures are bone chilling. Take Care my Aussie Friend.

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  13. I'm grateful that you are okay Lilly. I've never lost a home to a fire, but know the devastation of losing everything due to a hurricane. My heart hurts for everyone in Australia.

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  14. Lilly- My Hell, Living in Southern California, I know the fear and danger these wild fires bring. My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry you are dealing with this.

    Love to you friend!

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  15. Wow. Thanks for sharing...especially the video. I can't even imagine.

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  16. Hi Lilly, Just wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this horrific calamity. All the best from the States... Steve O

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  17. I've been watching this on the news, too. Just awful! Glad to see you are out of harm's way, Lilly.

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  18. Lilly. Yes – we’ve been watching the news... how terrifying! Thank God that your family and home are okay. My thoughts and prayers to everyone who’ve been affected directly or indirectly by the blazes!

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  19. I´m so glad it´s not your area affected again, but pray for those that have to go through this. This must bring back such "painful" memories for you and I hope that there will be relief for the affected area soon!

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  20. Thank-you for sharing your story. Fire is truly a scary element of nature in the form of brush fire. My thoughts are with all of those whose life's are now forever altered by this event. In the end when it is all over may love be the element which repairs and rebuilds that which the fire took away.

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  21. After reading yours and Junes post as well as Maithri's, and watching your video, I'm just horrified and feel so deeply for all of those who have lost so much! So glad you are safe as well as June and Maithri. Stay safe and know I'm holding good thoughts for you all.

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  22. So sorry for the pain of relieving such a hard time.

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  23. Lilly..I have three e-mail friends who live in your country and one of them lost everything in a past fire and none are involved in this one. I am sorry that you too have lived that horror. Here in the states California is prone to fires and some of them have been set by humans too. I don't understand that that kind of evil. I hope that things can be brought under control and that you get rain. It is so awful....Michelle...

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  24. I can't imagine the horror of what you went through and what is happening now. Your account of the 2003 fire is so vivid ... I am glad you and your home survived and so very sad for those who suffered loss - then and today.

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  25. WOW. We get unbelievable cold and tornadoes but not this. The destruction is just so thorough... My heart goes out to all affected. I'm going to send $25 to the Red Cross in Australia. I'm sorry I cannot do more.
    Pearl

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  26. Wow, what a video. That must have been really scary. When I heard of the fire I thought of you. I'm glad that you are okay. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have lost in the fire.

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  27. Fires in Cape Town, South Africa are scary and the devastation awful.
    The catastrophe Australians are experiencing now is mind-numbing!
    Our hearts go out to all
    x

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  28. My thoughts and prayers are with your countrymen. What a tragedy!!

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  29. Thinking of you in Australia. It's a beautiful video, in a haunting kind of way.

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  30. What haunting images! My thoughts and prayers are with all of those touched by the fires. Its a great irony to me that while fire rages in your world, we are beginning our preparations for massive flooding here in the midwestern United States. While floods bring their own kind of misery, the sheer brutality of fire seems a far worse fate when I see your video. I'll be thinking of you.

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  31. Hi Lilly,
    Have been thinking of you and glad you are safe.
    Have not had to experience any tragedies like this and your descriptive writing made me realise as never before the horror and the magnitude of the terrible disasters that your people have to face and suffer.

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  32. How horrific! My heart goes out to everyone involved.

    And I am so appalled that some of the fire were lit on purpose.

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  33. Oh my gosh Lilly I am so happy to know you are safe!!! They have been showing the fires here on our news and I was hoping you and one other blog freind were not near them! then today I heard about the floods and again I prayed you or her were not near that. I have yet to hear from her but I am paying that everyone is okay!
    Take Care, Be Safe and take your toothbrush... :o) xoxo

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  34. It's so sad. I can't watch the news. I read that bit about the elderly couple and their 53 year old son who were all packed up and ready to leave but couldn't escape quickly enough because of the wheelchair and they are all dead. sob. love ya JKT

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  35. Some of your pictures are beautiful and yet so terrifying at the same time. I can't imagine the terror one feels at a time like this. I have been keeping up with Australia on the news and the internet. I hope that you and June remain safe and that this is over for all of you very soon. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your countrymen.

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  36. Just horrific Lilly. The heat must be overwhelming and I hope that for the poor people who died it happened quickly. The worst would be to see the fire coming and have nowhere to hide. The pictures you showed of your experience say it all - to think it happened at 3.30 in the afternoon - it looks like the pitch black of night.

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  37. Oh my goodness...sounds so very scary.

    My heart goes out to all over there affected by the fires. So many dead. So much lost. Mind boggling.

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  38. "I clearly have never been the practical sort."--Ha. Clearly not!!

    Great descriptions of the heat, etc. How scary! So sorry to learn this. Of course n news about it here..but then again, I rarely watch the news because t isn't real news anyway!

    Those colours in the photos are amazing and btw, I love Dido and that song!

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  39. Thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Australia. Such a shock regardless how many bushfires your country has had. Global warming is a real issue and I fear that things like this all over the world are going to get worse. So sad to seee the little childrens pictures. I guess today you will see the numbers of deaths go up now that forensics can go back and look at homes. Your country will come through this. You Aussies are tough characters with resilient natures just remember that.

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  40. Thank God you seem to be OK Lilly. I's my day-off and I've been watching the news all day. Some of the interviews were heartbreaking. Please keep safe.

    love

    henry

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  41. "My heart goes out to everyone involved. I cannot truly comprehend the horror of losing my home or, worse still, the lives of loved ones to fire."

    Well said, Lilly.

    I could not have said it better.

    I am always touched after such a disaster at how human we all become towards one another. The suffering brings out such beauty, much like the green growth thet sprang from the ashes.

    Peace - Rene

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  42. Hi my dear dear friend. I was actually going to email you today to see if you are safe. I guess from what I've heard it's not in your area. But I was shocked to read what you went through a few years ago. I've driven through and almost been trapped in an Aussie fire years and years ago. The truck was so hot inside you couldn't touch the metal doors. And the smoke was so bad you couldn't at time see the road. Luckily we drove like bats out of hell and were out of it fairly fast. But there was fire on both side of the road with leaping flames and falling trees that were on fire.

    I feel SO badly for all these people I am reading about in the news. I am also hearing that the SUN's heat alone has been so intense lately in parts of Oz that people are being hospitalized for it and some have died from the extreme heat. I am just so sorry for all the people who have lost family and all the wildlife and trees gone.

    There were some arsonists who started fires in a Oz a few years ago -- I think -- ourside the Sydney area..not sure on that.

    We must ALL pray for these people as they are in deep shock right now. I am also going to see if there are any relief programs starting up.

    Thank you dear beautiful Lilly for sharing this. AND for caring. I love you for it. Stay safe because we ALL love you. Robin

    PS I hooted over your George Clooney post. You are SSOOOO funny!!! I was going to tell you that if you are "done" with him. Puh-leeese send him my way. I'll take him at any age. Hey!, I think Robert Redford is STILL a hunk. :) I'll take either of them. So if you see them wandering around int he bush just tell them their is a woman "naked in Eden" waiting for them! LOLOL!! :)

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  43. Fire is so scary. I despise arsonists and the damage they do.

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  44. It's terrible, To be honest I am terrified of fire. Feel so sorry for the elderly unable to escape the young children. Scars for life I think, bought me to tears to see the young chidren so distressed and trumatised. Nature is cruel no matter whether, flood, fire or famine.

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  45. With wildfire, heat death becomes a holocaust, for people, for animals and for plants.

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  46. Wonderful post, Lilly. Thank you for your comment on mine.

    We have been spared in Sydney but our hearts are full of sorrow (and outrage at the arsonists) for everyone involved.

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  47. There is not much more that I can say that hasn't been said already. My thoughts are with those that lost in this tragedy.

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  48. I cannot imagine anything like that. Every time I hear about any sort of fires, it's sad. I had family in CA that lost their home from the fires there.

    Once again, a great post and very moving.

    Hope you have a good week!

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  49. It is very sad to hear the mounting losses. Life sure isn't fair sometimes. My hearts go out to those directly involved. Living in California, these incidents are very real.

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  50. Oh, Lilly. How horrible that must have been for you. It is hard to comprehend such a fire. Usually here we have forest fires. They don't move at that pace and there is enough warning that people are almost always evacuated in time.

    I am sending out my thoughts and mental support for the survivors and a hug to you.

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  51. Thanks very much everyone for your comments and I sure hope the Australians affected know the world is praying for them. I am sure the numbers will increase today. This apprently was like no other bushfire they have ever seen. The tempreture was well into the 40s or 100s on the F scale. The flames were travelling at 120 k per hour so making it impossible for anyone to get away. The sad thing is that these communities were outlying cities so the people all knew one another well. Towns just no longe exist. Many of you have experienced natural disasters and know that recovery is possible. My heart goes to Tabitha who has survived a hurricane. Those living in California with similar weather pattersn will understand too. Today we will do some more tangible things and go help charities pack badly needed goods. I think we are just in shock because we have always had bushfires maybe a bad one every hundred years but this is so different. And having experienced one not nearly as bad I can imagine what it would have been liked to be trapped by fire. We all so need to take climate change seriously. The weather is changing radically. You are all lovely people to care. And Pearl I take my hat off to you!!

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  52. THat must have been complete HELL! I can only imagine how horrible it would be to leave everything you own and not be sure whether it would be there when you come back. And just scary as hell trying to get out. I'm glad your home was spared...and my heart goes out to the families who are suffering from this latest tragedy.

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  53. Oh, Lilly, I can't imagine what that must have been like. My heart goes out to all those people affected by this devastation. How sad.

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  54. I was just thinking of you the other day when I saw the news reports here. I looked on the map to see where Victoria was but then I realized I didn't know what area you were from. It is just so awful. They also have all that flooding happening in Queensland.
    I fought forest fires one year here in the states in Idaho. It is amazing how something that can look so beautiful can be so devastating. Prayers to everyone there who are being affected by this.

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  55. This is one crazy world, isn't it? That's all. Just crazy.

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  56. Oh my..my heart is breaking for your country...I emailed my friend who lives in Syndey and he and his family are all fine. Not where the fires are. I will light candles and say prayers for your country and countrymen..so sad..we love our Australian friends...

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  57. Dearest Lilly
    I hoped so much that you would tell your story. It's healthy for you - When you posted to 70 Plus I felt you were deeply moved over this past week-end's events - and these horrors must be a salutary occasion for the rest of us.

    I can't even imagine what you went through in 2003 - although you have done a good job in sharing. But nothing but nothing could be like the real thing - the closeness of death and pain and loss.

    Onyer Lilly
    June in Oz too

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  58. I've been thinking of you, Lilly, as I read about these fires.

    It's horrifying to hear about these stories, but I just cannot imagine living through this horrible experience.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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  59. Wow, it really is hard to imagine something overtaking your neighborhood that fast. Unbelievable. I hope it's over very very soon, hopefully with no more casualties.

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  60. Horrific. I went through a similar experience, so I can rely to what you had and have to go through. It’s terrible enough when natural causes are the cause for the fires, it’s even worse to learn that people are responsible for it. That smell lingers with you for a very long time. My heart goes out to everybody involved. Thank you for that video!

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  61. Oh, that is awful!!! It's so scary!

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  62. I hope everyone can move forward. Such a tragic thing to have happen.

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  63. I hope everything stops burning!


    I moved! Come see me at www.aduckinherpond.com

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  64. Lilly, I am glad your post has reached and touched so many people. It is such a terrible event, and just gets worse with each report.....

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  65. I heard they found another 165 bodies today and there are still many many homes still left to search. How horrific.

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  66. Amazing. I am praying for relief from those fires and I had not heard that they were all arson related. That is horrific.

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  67. I have seen the factory where I used to work being consumed by fire. You have described what must have been probably the most horrible day of your life. Let us hope it was the last of its intensity.

    We read about bush fires in Aus. Why does it not happen elsewhere? Or does the world have a different name for it?

    Vivek

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  68. No words can how horrible this is to read. Can only imagine your pain for your country and countrymen, you're in my thoughts.
    ~a sitsa

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  69. Chills sent straight to the bone from your recount of the experience. I felt as though I lived through it with your words. I'm glad you are safe. When I heard about the fires on the news, I turned to Greg and said, "Remember Lilly, a blogger friend ~ she's from there." He's glad you're Ok too!


    I'm so sorry for the Aussie's in the path of the flames. And to think someone set the fires, there's no amount of anger to exceed the damages done for the pyromaniac act.. *sigh*

    Prayers sent..

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  70. Lilly, Very tragic, horrific news. It's so saddening to learn that this was caused intentionally... what terrible loss of life & destruction. My heart dropped when I read the story. "Why would anyone do this?" It's maddening! There was a photo of a rescuer giving a koala bear a drink - a beautiful heart in the midst of despair!

    I'll pray for those who have lost their loved ones, pets, homes, businesses & communities to find strength, come together, hold each other up & rebuild their lives.

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  71. Thanks everyone for your comments, the death toll is expected to rise rapidly today as there are whole towns that police have not searched as yet. Plus there are another 500 or so severely burnt They are large numbers for a population the size of ours, 21 million. Areas as big as European countries have been destroyed and fires are still burning. People have donated large sums of money and goods to help and there have been amazing stories of courage, luck and tragedy.

    This has been like no other fire and has not reacted in the same way. We are working with fire experts form California as we always do at times like this. We help them out when its fire season there and they help us out.

    Vivek you asked about the term bushfires. Other places may term it as wildfire. Many countries have fires. We have a distinct fuel for fires, our gum trees which are native to Australia, the weather and the landscape. Our Aussie bush is unique so that is what we term the fire, bushfire. High winds will reduce humidity, and cause an ongoing bushfire to spread more rapidly. Most bushfires start in the afternoon, when it is driest and hottest.

    Generally the fire spreads faster uphill. Conversely, fire going downhill advances more slowly. The superheated air is pushed in front of the fire drying and pre-warming the fuel for ignition. When a fire progressing downhill hits the flat at the bottom of the hill, the height of the flame can quadruple, when the fire hits the undulating slope opposite, the height may quadruple again. In other words, 1 metre flames going downhill can turn into 4 metre flames at the bottom of the hill, and to 16 metre flames starting to climb the next hill. While the height of the flame depends mainly on the height of the fuel, the former stands as a reminder that an innocent looking small bushfire can rapidly change into a life threatening fire.

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  72. I watched the whole video and I was so moved by it.. I can only imagine how absolutly horrible to have witnessed it! Feel so sorry for all the victims and their families!
    I lived in California for 3 years and we had a couple of fires in the mountains right across the road from our house...that was scary enough. We had to keep our roof wet because of the winds.It never crossed the road thank goodness! Nothing at all like yours...not at all!

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  73. Oh, Dear Lillyness! I have been hearing and seeing on TV about the horrible fires. I've been thinking about you! I can't imagine going through what you've been through. We did go through the hurricane, we left, but came back to the devastation. My heart and prayers go out to all the families who are suffering so much. Stay safe dear one.
    Thanks for the visit! No, I couldn't catch Mr. Precious if he ran - he's a marathon runner you know! :0
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  74. The love to a place doesn't change even if nature brings a catastrophe, but it might break your heart sometimes. If the hope stays and the people there can find a way to build the place and the homes back up together and ties them together forever.

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  75. I have never been in such a terrible situation like fire and all so I cannot say I know how you feel. I am just glad that you are here with us now to tell us all these stories.

    I cannot comprehend why somebody started something so terrible like that.My heart goes to all the people who have lost their loved ones and their home.

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  76. Its very sad. I have been reading how whole families of people were in their cars and got caught in the fire and had no way to escape. I am not sure how people get over these things but it happens all over the world, tornados, floods. Nature is cruel.Everyone needs to stick together.

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  77. I left a comment on your blog early morning before the nespaper was delivered to my home.

    And now I have read that the fires are possibly caused by an act of arson. The newspapers are quoting Prime Minsiter Mr. Rudd speaking of 'mass murders'.

    Shocking indeed! I share the feelings and anger of my Australian brothers and sisters!
    Vivek

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  78. @ Shelia - oh yes you ahve had horrific experiences too with the hurrican and know what these kind of tragedies are all about.

    @ Vivek, yes they think that maybe some fires were deliberately lit by fire bugs and others are just naturally occuring. They are determined to catch them and have arrested two people already. Terrible. Thanks for your comment and interest.

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  79. such a sad event. Destruction and death is unnerving. If anything positive comes from these tragedies it might be the kindness and bonding of people.

    Maybe you have seen this picture from the fire fighting but I had to post it because it shows sharing that is worth sharing.

    act of kindness

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  80. @ Lisleman - that is the most adorable photo - arent koalas the cutest things.

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  81. All my thoughts and best wishes to everyone out there.

    I am glad you are ok :)

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  82. I've been rather up to my ears over here and haven't been able to read how everybody is doing. However, I've seen some newscasts on the devastation going on in Australia and had to check to make sure you were OK. I'm glad you're doing OK for now and will keep my fingers crossed that the fires will get under control quickly. I'm so sorry for all that's happening down under. I'll be thinking about you, Lilly. Stay safe.

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  83. Hi Lilley

    Thanks for your comments on my blog.

    As I live in Victoria now we're all in a state of shock. Eveyone knows somebody, who's been killed, hurt or displaced.

    I remember the 2003 fire as well. In 1997 I lived in Woden but my family needed a bigger place. We looked at a house in Duffy - 60 metres from that pine forest. Luckily we found a bigger place in Pearce.

    Just before we moved out of Canberra (late 2002) a couple of guys we employed to clean our windows told us they were bushfire volunteers. They said that from around the mid 1990s to 2002 ACT governments had rundown bushfire resources (eg. fewer tankers for prepositioning in the forest) making it harder to fight fires.

    I don't know whether the ACT Government running down resources and declaring the evacuation until minutes before 2003 fire hit made any difference.

    People get rather patriotic towards governments during natural disasters. I like to look at preceding actions - which may or may not include firebugs.

    Regards

    Pete

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  84. @ Kay - we are ok where we are but many are not but people have all banded together to help.

    @ Pete - oh yes they had an enquiry and there were lots of things they could have done differently. What you say is true and that is the risk they took. There was no real warning and they have replanted all the pine forest again - I do not understand that at all - limited vision I think. It will be interesting to see what happens in Victoria. Stay safe and we are all thinking of you all.

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  85. Lilly, I remember those fires and driving through Canberra in the aftermath. Just awful. I am glad you didn't lose you house but like you, can't stop thinking of the many many who are suffering right now...

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  86. I am SO SORRY to hear about this! I did hear that there was some calamity in Australia and I thought of you. How terrible it hit your neighborhood! I am thinking of you and your community and send you my prayers. Please keep us posted.

    I will be praying that kindness will heal the broken hearts of your community. Hugs to you - Andrea Cook from http://crazyjugs.blogspot.com (working from friend's computer...)

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  87. Thanks for stopping by my blog and a great comment! I hope the weather settles down and the wildfires are under control soon. Have a great day.

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  88. My God Lilly you brought tears to my eyes. How devastating for the people it's happening to today and for you and your neighbors before. You were so fortunate that your home was untouched!

    I did get a chuckle out of your prized possession packing though! :)

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  89. I was thinking about you, as I heard about the fires on the news here. Thoughts and prayers go out to all those in it's path...

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  90. I'm speechless. This is so awful. It's hard to imagine.

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  91. Is there an update on the fires? I saw the story on the koala being rescued in our national news. But I am still haunted by the destruction and loss of life. I continue to keep your country and its people in my prayers.

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  92. My thoughts and prayers go out to your fellow countrymen and women. Wild Fires are beasts of no conscious nor morals. They care not what age, status, religion or anything else. I can think of few worst ways to lose belongings or a life.

    In 2002 we had wild fires all over the state of Colorado. Nearly 80 percent of the state was affected by the fires. It's one of the things that helped to end my business. The Forests were shut down due to the extreme fire danger, so people would not go camping and inadvertently start another fire. There were whole communities lost, and many lives, not near as many as your country has lost though. It was discovered later that three of the largest fires were intentionally started, one of them by a forest service employee. I will never understand the thinking behind these acts.

    I hope all your friends and family are safe and well.

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  93. When I heard about these bush fires on the news I immediately thought of you. This is such a tragedy and hard to imagine. I pray that all the many people affected by this catastrophe will be taken care of. How awful.
    In 2002 I had a very similar experience. I remeber the night that we were told we must evacuate, I walked out our back door to load up my valuables into our trailer and all I could see was dark clouds and a blood red sun lowering into the horizon. It felt so surreal and dooming. We waited to drive until most of the town was already gone, it was so eery driving down the empty streets. Businesses all closed up, car lots completely bare.
    It was hard.
    That was a beautiful movie you put together.
    Best wishes to all those in your beautiful Australlia.

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  94. It’s all so incomprehensible !
    A very heartfelt post.

    How close you were Lilly to your own bushfire tragedy.

    I am glad you survived to share your story.

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  95. How horrible. I can't imagine being in my home and seeing that.

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  96. Thanks Trish and Wheresmy Angels - sad times for so many.

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  97. You have a delightful blog. Please know that I am so sorry for the tragedy in Victoria. I am lifting all in prayer.
    Debbie

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  98. @ Debbie - thank you so much for your prayers. Yes I think this tragedy will stay with everyone for a long time but as always the human spirit is remarkable. Thank you for your visit.

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  99. I was just thinking about you and the fires down there. I was hoping you weren't near them. I just saw the story about the koala bear who was rescued by a firefighter, that was a great story.

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  100. Thnaks Kate - all is well where I am although we have two thirds of the State at the top of Australia in flood and the State at the bottom of Australia in flames. Terrible.

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  101. Hi Lilly, I come to you blog by way of Susan's (If you're going through hell, keep going).

    I remember those Canberra fires. I can't imagine the terror you must have gone through.

    I also remember taking a motorbike trip with a good friend through those areas once the fires were done and dusted. The remains of houses in all kinds of conditions... and as you say, some just completely fine. Melted household goods grotesquely attached to things they have no business knowing. Very strange.

    Here in Victoria, it was a week later when the smoke began to fill the skies of Melbourne's CBD. The sun was red, and this is what the moon looked like on the evening of Friday 13th: http://twitpic.com/1gr3u

    The fires are still burning. I am impressed by the compassion of fellow Australians and others around the world, pulling together to help everyone.

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  102. @ Svasti - thanks for dropping by. Yes you are so right - the outpouring of support and love is amazing and those people so deserve it. As do all the people affected by floods in Qld too.

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  103. Lilly,

    Came across this link tonite & thought you may be interested in it.

    http://www.habitat.org/newsroom/2009archive/02_12_2009_HFH_Australia_aids_victims_of_bushfires.aspx

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  104. JULS - Thanks for that link. Is that the charity that was started by President Carter? I recall watching a documentary about how he was invovled in building houses all over the world. Amazing humanitarian regardless of politics.

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  105. We in Australian, which ever part we live in should never underestimate the power of the amazing country we live in.It is not hospitable, does not suffer fools, is unpredictable and dangerous.
    Bushfires are one of it's manifestations of danger for unprepared, untrained people.All experience says get out, stay and defend has never been a good option and councils planning permissions need seriously looking at.

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  108. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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